Archive for January, 2008

Beta invites (don't bother)

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Another thing about the occasional startup:

They make you sign up for beta notification. Then you learn about their launch by accident — after the fact.

Lame.

PolitCamp Graz: May 30-31, 2008 in Graz, Austria

Friday, January 18th, 2008

About PolitCamp Graz (in German):

Das PolitCamp soll eine Unkonferenz zum Thema Politische Kommunikation im Web 2.0 werden, wobei die detaillierte inhaltliche Vorbereitung Sache der Teilnehmer ist. Dazu ist dieses Wiki da. Wir hoffen, dass viele Besucher kommen, für die Unkonferenzen dieses Typs neu sind: z.B. politisch Aktive, PR-Leute und Journalisten.

Bei einer Session auf dem letzten Wiener BarCamp haben wir Ideen für das PolitCamp gesammelt. Sehr gut hat mir dort die Formulierung gefallen: zeigen, was mit Web 2.0-Mitteln in der politischen Kommunikation heute möglich ist. Ein wichtiges Thema wird sicher auch der long tail der politischen Kommunikation sein: Wie kann die unbekannte Expertin das Web zur politischen Kommunikation nutzen, wie können die Betroffenen der Politik öffentlich kommunizieren?

I’ve taken the liberty to add the event to Upcoming.

Meet me at SXSW Interactive, March 7-11, 2008 in Austin, Texas

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Just signed up for SXSW Interactive 2008.

Last year was a lot of fun, so looking very much forward to going again this year. SXSW 2007 was when Twitter really took off. See a list of Twitterers attending this year’s conference here: http://sxswtwitter.pbwiki.com. Given their recent performance issues during Steve Job’s keynote at Mac World, it’ll be interesting to watch whether the service will be as reliable and fun as it was last year. And fun it was, with half of Twitter’s then-userbase congregated in the same city (in a way, it almost felt like a location-based service). So here’s to hoping they can figure things out.

Also, if you’re coming to SXSW from Europe, I’m organizing Kraut by Southwest, a little get-together for the German and European community on Monday, March 11 (see Upcoming or Facebook for details).

SXSW will be my third event on this trip, following eDemocracyCamp (provided it actually happens, sign up on the wiki, Upcoming or on Facebook if you’re interested) and Politics Online Conference 2008, both of which will be held in Washington DC.

If all goes well, I will be able to share more details on a little project I’ve been working on over this past year, and which seems to finally be gaining some traction.

Virtual Petition

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Another e-participation project I just came across today: Virtual Petition

Looks like things are just getting started. From their first (and so far only) petition, here’s the instructions they give:

  • To sign your name, click on the edit button on the top of the screen, find the right place, add your name, then hit “save page”.
  • If this issue gains enough signatures it will be submitted to our elected officials and to our news outlets. Thank You.
  • Why the Presidential Elections are Broken
  • To debate this issue please post on the discussion page
  • Everyone is invited to help refine the above paragraphs.

Interesting, as always, though I have yet to find an example of wiki-based dialogue and deliberation that actually works.

Here are some of the issues I see with a pure wiki approach:

  • Unstructured, flat text — Almost impossible to slice and dice data in meaningful ways (generally true for most wikis, as far as I can tell): Which arguments or ideas are viewed more often than others? Which are considered relevant? What’s the level of agreement for each item?
  • Little to no process support — Workflow, business logic etc. are practically non-existent on most wikis (and while oftentimes that is exactly the reason why they are so useful, in this case it’s a considerable weakness)
  • Scalability issues — Ever try to run a vote on a wiki with 1,000+ participants? Now try that while the content of the item you’re voting on is in flux.
  • Fairly limited (or at least very loosely structured) social networking capabilities — Who are my friends? What do they think? How can they help me filter information or peer activities?

Having said that, there’s always the chance someone can figure out these things in entirely new ways. In that sense, best of luck to Virtual Petition.

Election 2008: How are the pollsters doing?

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Not so great.

Here is what Zogby predicted for Iowa on December 30, 2007, four days before the Iowa caucus: Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby Poll: Clinton Leads Dems; GOP Deadlocked

  • Hillary Clinton: 31%
  • Barack Obama: 27%

Needless to say the actual results were slightly off. Now, we all know that polls come with fine print, margins of error, need to be interpreted etc. So while the Zogby poll may not have been “wrong” scientifically, it doesn’t seem to me to have been entirely accurate either.

Be that as it may, yesterday, on January 4, 2008, four days before the New Hampshire primaries, here’s what Zogby sees in the cards: Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby New Hampshire Poll: McCain Leads Romney; Clinton Leads Obama as Edwards Hits 20%

  • Hillary Clinton: 32%
  • Barack Obama: 26%

It will be very interesting to watch how those numbers will change over the next 72 hours. And change they will, read my lips.

Wordie

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

I’m on Wordie.

Wordie is for people who love words. Start by making word lists: words you love, words you hate, words on a given topic, whatever. Add citations, comments, and tags. See who else has listed the same words.

For example, here’s my current favorite.

Via: factoryjoe Flickr stream